May 31, 2004

Out in the suburbs you can’t walk more than a few minutes without happening across a big pile of rubbish. I don’t know what it is - but some people have a really rude habit of dumping entire truckloads of waste - say on green grass verges in cul-de-sacs - or round the back of the supermarket - or in a quiet spot on the edge of an industrial estate. Most waste dumped like this happens to be building materials - or bulky household items that someone couldn’t be bothered to take to the municipal waste collection centre. In UK - this practise is known as “fly tipping”. Sometimes - some dodgy firms will come collect your bulky waste for a fee - and then instead of taking to the municipal waste centre - they dump it in quiet place somewhere out of sight - or at night when they cannot be see doing it. At one time - most of London’s fty-tipping menace was caused by such corrupt practises - until the local authorities and police launched a crackdown a few years ago. But it still happens - only this time I think it’s caused by people who cannot be bothered to dispose of stuff properly - rather than those making a profession out of it. For example - plumbers and builders - or family DIYers.

On a smaller scale, instead of a whole pile of waste dumped in a discreet place - you might instead find the occassional unwanted old fridge, or broken cooker, or old and broken TV - just dumped in the middle of a pavement in a street. In plain view of passers by. Looking somewhat lonely. Wishing to be taken away. Sometimes - such items will sit there for days on end - and then they will suddenly be gone. I always wonder what happens to them. Strictly speaking the council street cleansing department will only collect waste from the premises of private properties - perhaps another council department looks after the collection of “stray” items like this?

Unwanted old portable TV - dumped in middle of suburban pavement - upside down too.

I have stepped around the above TV for a few days now. I wonder when it will be gone - and I wonder who willl take it away.

Posted by jag at May 31, 2004 03:11 PM

In India this concept of dumping doesnt’ exist - though we dump just about every thing else on to the street - garbage, potato peels, banana skin - you name it.
In India electronics tend to last for ever - there is always this friendly neighbourhood “electrician” who comes by and fixes the most ancient of equipment extending its life by a couple of years. so we have stuff from the 1960’s still waiting to die. And of course once its’ fixed - you hand it over to the maid or the driver, or the watchman or the community centre nearby. It is estimated that half of India’s television sets are black and white one’s from 20 years ago:)

Posted by: Harini Calamur on May 31, 2004 06:26 PM

Hi Harini - you know - it’s amazing how Indians (even over here) can make things last for ages. I know from my own experience that (my parent’s generation at least) valued material posessions so highly that they were somehow made to last for a lot longer than most things in the West are either designed to last - or made to last a lot longer than the “fashion” cycle moves the market. However - the younger generations are a lot more fashion concious - and will often “retire” things a lot earlier - and will certainly not take steps to prolong lifetime as much as our parents did. Reminded me of a posting I did on “preserving newness” a while back:

Posted by: Jag on June 1, 2004 08:56 PM

It exists in the US, or at least NY (though I’m not sure they call it the same thing):

Any idea where the term “fly tipping” comes from?

Posted by: Stu on June 2, 2004 04:42 PM

Hi Stu - yes - I remember seeing those pics by Heather Champ some time ago - they are very good. Not sure where the term comes from - maybe it’s about “tipping on the fly” - or may be similar to fly-posting - which refers to posting adverts just about anywhere you’re not supposed to. I have heard the term “flyer” being used to describe “handout” leaflets too. Even more confusing.

Posted by: Jag on June 2, 2004 08:59 PM
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